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12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari & Beach Holiday

12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari & Beach Holiday

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This 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari & Beach Holiday offers you a great chance to explore the absolute best that Malawi and Zambia have to offer.

These two south-central African countries may not be the first names that pop into your mind when you think of classic safari in Africa, but these two landlocked countries and their natural riches will turn you into a storyteller of note!

They rival any other Africa destination when it comes to wildlife density and diversity, and trumps them on being much more relaxed, intimate and unique.

On this 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari, youÔÇÖll watch big game in world-renowned South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, then marvel at the stunning riverfront landscape and diverse mammals and birds of Liwonde National Park in Malawi, before going on to relax, kayak or snorkel at a beautiful island in beautiful Lake Malawi. Come and join us!

12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari Summary

Day 1: Arrive at Mfuwe Airport & transfer to South Luangwa (Bilimungwe Bush Camp)

Day 2: South Luangwa National Park (Bilimungwe Bush Camp)

Day 3: South Luangwa National Park (Bilimungwe Bush Camp)

Day 4: South Luangwa National Park (Bilimungwe Bush Camp to Mfuwe Lodge)

Day 5: South Luangwa National Park (Mfuwe Lodge)

Day 6: Return to Mfuwe Airport & Fly to Lilongwe. Transfer to Liwonde National Park (Mvuu Lodge)

Day 7: Liwonde National Park (Mvuu Lodge)

Day 8: Liwonde National Park (Mvuu Lodge)

Day 9: Liwonde National Park to Lake Malawi (Mumbo Island Camp)

Day 10: Lake Malawi (Mumbo Island Camp)

Day 11: Lake Malawi (Mumbo Island Camp)

Day 12: Lake Malawi TO Lilongwe AND Departure

12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari Summary Details

Day 1: Arrive at Mfuwe Airport & transfer to South Luangwa (Bilimungwe Bush Camp)

Your fantastic 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari will start today when you arrive at Mfuwe International Airport. YouÔÇÖre going to fall in love with Zambia, of that there is no doubt!

Zambia is relatively undervisited compared to the safari destinations of East and South Africa. This means that you can have spectacular wildlife sightings all to yourself ÔÇô a very special experience!

YouÔÇÖll be picked up by our company representative. After a quick meet-and-greet, your bags will be loaded into our comfortable vehicle and then be driven towards your first destination of the safari, namely South Luangwa National Park.

The drive is approximately 2 hours. YouÔÇÖre heading for the Bilimungwe Bush Camp in the parkÔÇÖs remote southern section. YouÔÇÖll drive from the main gate through a sizeable section of the park, and will see your first mammals and birds of this wonderful trip!

YouÔÇÖll hopefully reach the camp in time for lunch and some relaxation to get used to your stunning surroundings. After that, youÔÇÖll go for an afternoon game viewing activity into this region of the park.

This will be in the form of a guided game drive or a walking safari that South Luangwa is known for. Your expert local guide will tell you more about this world famous and wonderful park as you go in search of the local fauna and flora. YouÔÇÖll return to camp to freshen up and enjoy a fabulous dinner.

Day 2: South Luangwa National Park (Bilimungwe Bush Camp)

Day two of your 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari will start with breakfast in BilimungweÔÇÖs secret breakfast spot on the edge of Luangwa valley; perfect to watch the sun rise over the Chindeni hills. Then, youÔÇÖll go for a game drive.

┬áAlong the river, youÔÇÖll see many Elephants, Buffalos and Hippos, along with some huge Crocodiles. In the savannah plains also, youÔÇÖll see many antelope, and of course, their predators such as lions, Leopards, Hyenas, and Wild Dogs. Some people say that the Luangwa valley is the best place in Africa to see Leopard!

YouÔÇÖll return to camp for lunch and some time to relax. In the late afternoon youÔÇÖll go out again for a game activity, either a drive or a walk with the local expert ranger.

The focus in South Luangwa is certainly the meandering Luangwa River, whose intermittent flooding alters its course, creating floodplains and many tranquil oxbow lakes. It is the lifeblood of the park. The parkÔÇÖs habitat is typically that of woodland savannah.

Within these woodland savannah swathes are larger patches of grassland, as well as floodplains closer to the river. YouÔÇÖll cover much of these habitats in search of animals.

Day 3: South Luangwa National Park (Bilimungwe Bush Camp)

Today is the final full day in the southernmost part of the park. YouÔÇÖll start with breakfast once again and then a game activity.

YouÔÇÖll return for a great lunch and some relaxation time, and the set off again into the bush in the afternoon. One of the reasons youÔÇÖll fall in love with South Luangwa is that this is still ÔÇ£oldÔÇØ Africa. Little has changed since explorer Dr. David Livingstone walked here in the late 1800s.

It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and spectacular wildlife areas in Africa. After your exciting drive, youÔÇÖll return the lodge to freshen up.

YouÔÇÖll then get together on the deck for sundowner drinks, followed by another top class dinner. Then youÔÇÖre off to your rooms for a good nightÔÇÖs rest.

Day 4: South Luangwa National Park (Bilimungwe Bush Camp to Mfuwe Lodge)

After breakfast today, youÔÇÖll have a game viewing activity before departing for your next lodge in South Luangwa. YouÔÇÖre heading north towards the parkÔÇÖs different area, and the drive will take around 2 hours, depending on what we see en route.

YouÔÇÖll reach your destination, Mfuwe Lodge, just in time for a well-deserved lunch and some time to take in this lodgeÔÇÖs beauty.

Set inside the park, just 5 minutes from the main gate, Mfuwe LodgeÔÇÖs allure is instantly obvious. Situated underneath a canopy of mahogany and ebony trees, its chalets are arranged around the banks of two lagoons where an endless stream of wildlife will keep you fascinated as you lounge on the open deck or take a dip in the swimming pool.

Day 5: South Luangwa National Park (Mfuwe Lodge)

On day five of your 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari, you have a full day to explore this area of South Luangwa today. After breakfast, you will for a game drive.

This area of the park is famous for its prolific game ÔÇô Giraffes, Hippos, Buffalos, Lions, Leopards, Wildebeest, Puku, Plains Zebra, and Nile Crocodile are constant visitors to the area around the river and lagoons, while in November the local African Elephants regularly wander right through the lobby, lured by a nearby Wild Mango tree!

It is not just the diversity of species that makes South Luangwa special, but the sheer numbers of them. It is not uncommon to see herds of hundreds of buffalo or elephant across the grasslands.

YouÔÇÖll return to the lodge for one of their famous lunches and then have some down time. You could take a lazy splash in the pool, or even go for a massage or treatment in the excellent Bush Spa.

YouÔÇÖll again enjoy a refreshing drink in the afternoon and another game drive in search of the Big 5, African Wild Dogs, antelopes and much more! You also have an option to switch one or more of your game drives in South Luangwa for a walking safari.

This astonishingly intimate way of experiencing the African bush originated in this very park. Many years later it is still one of the wonderful ways to experience AfricaÔÇÖs pristine wilderness first-hand.

Day 6: Return to Mfuwe Airport & Fly to Lilongwe. Transfer to Liwonde National Park (Mvuu Lodge)

After an early breakfast today and maybe a short game drive or even a bush walk, youÔÇÖll make the 45 minute drive back to Mfuwe Airport. From here, youÔÇÖll take a short flight to the Kamuzu International Airport north of Lilongwe in next-door Malawi.

While Blantyre is the commercial hotpot of Malawi, Lilongwe is the seat of the governmental and public institutions. It has a population of approximately 1 million people and is located along the Lilongwe River.

Chaotic and colourful, Lilongwe city feels like a miniature of Malawi itself. After gathering your bags and getting into the vehicle, youÔÇÖll be driven south, navigating LilongweÔÇÖs surprisingly smooth traffic, and reach your destination, Liwonde National Park, after about 4 hours.

En route youÔÇÖll see why Malawi is such a beautiful country, as despite the subsistence farming practices, there are still stunning landscapes and patches of green pristine bush throughout.

YouÔÇÖll arrive at the car park next to the Shire River, which dominates the landscape of Liwonde Park, meet your expert local ranger, and pack your bags into one of the boats named after famous birds of the area, like PelÔÇÖs (for PelÔÇÖs Fishing Owl).

YouÔÇÖll then cross the river and arrive at your home for the next 3 nights, Mvuu Lodge. Mvuu (mvuu means ÔÇ£hippoÔÇØ in one of the local languages). The lodge nestles discreetly on the banks of a lagoon just off the Shire River on the parkÔÇÖs western boundary.

If there is time you might go for a short game drive this afternoon or even a short cruise on the lazy Shire River. No Liwonde safari is complete without experiencing the beauty of the Shire and its incredible wildlife viewing by boat. It is the perfect introduction to Liwonde!

Afterwards, youÔÇÖll enjoy some authentic local Malawi cuisine and then be escorted to your ÔÇ£tentÔÇØ. Settle in for a good nightÔÇÖs rest. Tomorrow you will explore Liwonde properly!

Day 7: Liwonde National Park (Mvuu Lodge)

Today you have a full day to enjoy Liwonde and all its beauty. You will enjoy a good breakfast and then set off on a morning game drive in comfortable, open-sided safari vehicles.

Your ranger will tell you a bit more about Liwonde during your drives, as well as show you some of the fantastic fauna and flora species of this fantastic little park.

Speaking of little, Liwonde only covers about 580 km2 and yet supports a wide range of habitats, including Mopane woodland, marshlands and swamps, floodplain grassland, grassy savannah and riverine forest.

There are numerous huge Baobab trees, the quintessential African safari tree for many people. The main feature of Liwonde, though, is the 30 km long section of the sluggish Shire River that runs through the park, including a section of the shore of Lake Malombe, 20 km south of famous Lake Malawi.

YouÔÇÖll return to the lodge after your drive for a delicious lunch and a siesta. There is also a fantastic swimming pool if you would rather have a splash than a nap. YouÔÇÖll have coffee or a soda in the mid-afternoon and then set off on afternoon game drive, this time targeting a different part of the park.

Liwonde was established in 1973, and has been managed by the non-profit conservation organisation African Parks since August 2015. Their first priority was to build an electric fence around the perimeter of the park to help mitigate the human-wildlife conflict that had plagued the park before.

This fence is monitored 24 hours a day to ensure animals stay in and poachers stay out. Fencing the park cost US$1.6 million and took approximately 18 months to complete.

Liwonde has been very active in conservation efforts and animal relocation programs, and has made quite a name for itself in this regard, especially when it comes to African Elephant, Black Rhinos and even big cats like Lion and Cheetah.

Day 8: Liwonde National Park (Mvuu Lodge)

On day eight of your 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari, you have another full day to enjoy all that Liwonde has to offer.

Start with an early breakfast before setting off on the boat again on the Shire River. The landscape changes a bit when you cruise the river in the morning, and the light is just wonderful for taking photos. You hope to see many wildlife species on your boat trip.

There are over 12,000 mammals in the park. Specific species that you can target include Elephants, Buffalos, Black Rhinos, Hippos, Eland, Waterbuck, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Hartebeest, Impala, Bushbuck, Warthog, Kudu, and Yellow Baboon.

If youÔÇÖre lucky, you might see one of the introduced predators, and smaller ones like Serval and Side-striped Jackal.

Besides fantastic mammals, Liwonde is also a must-visit destination for birders. The park boasts over 400 species. During your time here you can look for specials like PelÔÇÖs Fishing Owl, Palm-nut Vulture, Red-necked Falcon, Bat Hawk, White-backed Night Heron, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, and more!

YouÔÇÖll once again return to the lodge for lunch and relaxation. In afternoon, youÔÇÖll go out again on another game viewing tour. This will either take the form of game drive, or a sunset boat cruise again. YouÔÇÖll make this decision based on which species of wildlife you still need to see here in Liwonde.

Day 9: Liwonde National Park to Lake Malawi (Mumbo Island Camp)

On day nine of your 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari, youÔÇÖll transfer to the jetty and enjoy a quick breakfast. YouÔÇÖll then cross back over the Shire River to the car park. YouÔÇÖll board the vehicle and set off north. Your drive will take about 3 hours, and it will be beautiful!

YouÔÇÖll first see Lake Malombe on your right, followed by the famous Lake Malawi. No other country is so dominated by a single natural feature like Malawi. In fact, the country is also known as ÔÇÿthe land of the lakeÔÇØ. The lake is 580 km long and covers over 15% of MalawiÔÇÖs surface.

It is the 4th largest fresh water lake in the world by volume, the 9th largest lake in the world by area, and the3rd largest lake in Africa. It is certainly the most beautiful of all of AfricaÔÇÖs lakes and the focal point of the tourism industry in Malawi. YouÔÇÖll arrive at the Cape Maclear, where your lodgeÔÇÖs reception is and check in.

Then youÔÇÖll cross about 10 km of water by boat to Mumbo Island Camp. The area you are in is actually part of the 95km2 Lake Malawi National Park, a World Heritage Site. Covering just 1km2across, this remote islet is nearly uninhabited and covered with pristine miombo forests scattered with ancient fig and Baobab trees.

It is encircled by the tranquil, crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi, where you can swim and snorkel amidst schools of brightly coloured tropical fish.

The camp comprises 5 units perched on rocks high above the water shaded by green foliage, each with bucket showers, ÔÇÿeco-loosÔÇÖ and a wooden deck.

A hammock offers a comfortable spot to take in the serene Lake view. The camp follows to strict principles of eco-architecture, so the dining area, bar and water sport gazebo, are all hand built from timber, thatch and canvas and solar energy is used.

YouÔÇÖll have a late lunch and then some time to just rest and take in the beautiful surroundings. No visit to Mumbo Island is complete without taking the chance to just unwind.

The sense of peace and tranquility, offered by the location, makes it the perfect place to simply lie back and take in the breathtaking scenery. Whether it be swinging in the hammock on your private deck overlooking the lake or reading a book in the comfy shaded lounge deck, Mumbo is a place where you can experience total relaxation.

Day 10: Lake Malawi (Mumbo Island Camp)

YouÔÇÖll start your day with a relaxed breakfast and then the dayÔÇÖs plan is entirely up to you. There are many activities to choose from here a Mumbo, so the sky is the limit.

You can go kayaking The protected waters of the Lake Malawi l Park bring kayaking within reach of anyone, irrespective of fitness or experience. The 2-person kayaks are stable, and the guides are local residents with an intimate knowledge of the area.

In you have a sense of adventure; you can also kayak alone with a guide! YouÔÇÖll enjoy a seafood lunch and some down time, before another afternoon activity.

This afternoon it might be a good idea to take a hike! Five different, well-marked trails weave their way through the massive granite boulders that constitute the island. The island is heavily wooded, hosting Baobab trees and several other tree species.

There are no dangerous animals on Mumbo, so you can walk anywhere with confidence and will be rewarded with magnificent views.

Day 11: Lake Malawi (Mumbo Island Camp)

Today is your last full day of this fantastic 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari adventure, so letÔÇÖs make the most of it! After good breakfast, it may be a good idea to see if you can spot some of Lake MalawiÔÇÖs most famous residents, the cichlid fish.

There are over 900 cichlid species in these waters, that is more than all the fish species of Europe and North American combined! Also, the vast majority of them are endemic to Lake Malawi! They are very beautiful, colourful and evolutionary interesting fish that have unfortunately become popular with aquarium owners the world over.

The two best ways to enjoy these fish in the lake, is by snorkelling or scuba diving. Snorkelling through the islandÔÇÖs warm, calm, and crystal-clear waters, where the colourful fish swim by, coupled with the massive granite boulders that make up much of the underwater terrain, make for a truly remarkable experience.

Many experts say that this is actually the best snorkelling destination on Earth!

For the more adventurous, Lake Malawi is a great place to scuba dive, ideally suited to beginners or those who prefer relaxed diving with no dangers. Mumbo Island Camp is a PADI registered resort, offering beginner, advanced and specialty courses, as well as gear hire and casual dives.

Day 12: Lake Malawi to Lilongwe and Departure

And so an amazing 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari adventure unfortunately comes to an end. After breakfast you will say your goodbyes to the wonderful staff at Mumbo Island Camp and cross the clear waters of Lake Malawi to reach your vehicle at Cape Maclear. It will take about 4 hours to reach Kamuzu International Airport for your onward journey or homeward flight.

End of 12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari & Beach Holiday

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12 Days Zambia and Malawi Safari & Beach Holiday